Parenting is a huge responsibility and looking after a child’s emotional and physical well being is not always an easy task. Parents are generally concerned with making sure that their child is eating right, has regular checkups at the GP, and washes his or her hands after using the restroom. And most children are familiar with the oft heard parental reminder “have you brushed your teeth?”. Some people, however, may not realize the important connection between oral health and overall well being. Helping your children to develop good oral hygiene habits and early detection and treatment of potential orthodontic problems can contribute to a child’s healthy development into adulthood.
What Are The Signs?
While orthodontic problems are mostly genetic, other factors involved include; thumb-sucking, mouth-breathing, accidents, poor nutrition, or not enough room in the jaw for the teeth to grow properly. If this is the case, your child may need braces to correct the issue, but how can you know for sure if your child needs braces and when should they start treatment?
Here are some signs to watch for
Does your child have…?
- Early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Crowding, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that shift or make sound
- Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
- Teeth that meet abnormally or not all
- Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face
If your child’s permanent teeth are erupting and you answered “yes” to any of the above bullet-points, then it may be time to visit the orthodontist for a professional evaluation to discern if your child does indeed need braces.
Is My Child Old Enough For Braces?
As we are all unique, the best age for fitting braces depends entirely on the individual. However, most commonly, braces are fitted between the ages of 8-14 years old when most baby teeth have fallen out and permanent teeth are emerging. Yet, some problems may be best addressed early on, even before permanent teeth start erupting.
As a side-point, it is advised that you should have your child start seeing a dentist 6 months after their first tooth emerges. Having regular 6-month visits to your pediatric dentist will help you to monitor new developments and changes in your child’s mouth, teeth, and gums and will give you an opportunity to gain advice about good oral health strategies as your child develops. This is also a good opportunity to have their teeth professional cleaned by a dental hygienist, which is also recommended to be done twice a year.
If you feel your child may need braces, then you should consult your child’s dentist for professional advice. They will then be able to refer you to a qualified orthodontist for a full evaluation and to discuss the best treatment plan for your child’s oral well-being.